Eustace v Dubrava & Anor [2023] QDC 100

In August 2017, the plaintiff came to a stop behind several cars at a red traffic light intersection. The first defendant moved her car forward and collided with the back of the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The court ruled a total of $12,966.90 compensation for the plaintiff’s damages.

The plaintiff claimed that the accident caused a permanent aggravation of pre-existing cervical and lumbar spine pain, right scapular pain, and a psychiatric injury.

The court, however, found aspects of the plaintiff’s testimony to raise concerns about their credibility and reliability. Although not regarding the plaintiff as generally dishonest, the court observed that the plaintiff’s account of their neck and back pain prior to the accident contradicted disclosures made to doctors both before and after the incident.

During cross-examination, it was revealed that the plaintiff had a notebook with them in the witness box containing the words “don’t tell them about hip. How it affected my work ethic. Be careful.” The court believed that the plaintiff had attempted on multiple occasions to tailor their evidence to strengthen their claim.

In the end, the court concluded that the accident indeed aggravated the plaintiff’s pre-existing neck and back issues, but this aggravation was temporary, and by the end of April 2018, the condition had returned to its state before the accident.

The plaintiff contended that their injuries negatively impacted their temperament, coping abilities, and work performance. However, the court analyzed the plaintiff’s employment records, including counseling and disciplinary sessions, which indicated that the plaintiff faced identical employment-related issues even before the accident. The court did not find a causal link between the termination of employment and the aggravation of the plaintiff’s symptoms.

Given the findings concerning the temporary exacerbation of the plaintiff’s pre-existing injuries, the court concluded that there was no basis for an award of economic loss. The court held that any ongoing impairment of the plaintiff’s earning capacity was a result of their long-standing pre-existing conditions.


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